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Captains' hundreds, and a family dismissal

Also: first-class centuries on the same day, the Don's nineties, and Gavaskar's dislike for Lord's

Steven Lynch

June 5, 2012

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Sunil Gavaskar is congratulated by Ravi Shastri on reaching hundred, MCC v Rest of the World XI, Lord's, 3rd day, August 22, 1987
Sunil Gavaskar made a century at Lord's for the Rest of the World XI against MCC in 1987 © PA Photos
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Andrew Strauss and Darren Sammy both reached their centuries on the same day at Trent Bridge. How often have Test captains scored hundreds on the same day before? asked Colin Clarke from Leicester
This has only happened once before in Tests: at Old Trafford in July 1955, South Africa's captain Jackie McGlew ended the third day with 89 to his name, and completed his century next morning before declaring. Peter May, his opposite number, then made 117 for England. But McGlew had the last laugh - South Africa sneaked home to win by three wickets on the final day.

How many captains have scored Test centuries from No. 8, as Darren Sammy did last week? asked John Macaulay from South Africa
Darren Sammy's innings at Trent Bridge was only the 11th instance of a Test captain scoring a century from No. 8 in the batting order. Daniel Vettori of New Zealand has made three of those, and MS Dhoni two. The first to do it was Ray Illingworth, with 113 for England against West Indies at Lord's in 1969. The others were Clive Lloyd (1982-83), Imran Khan (1986-87), Wasim Akram (257 not out - the highest by any No. 8 in a Test - for Pakistan v Zimbabwe in Sheikhupura in 1996-97) and Heath Streak (2003-04).

Has there ever been a dismissal involving three members of the same family? asked James Thompson via Facebook
There has only been one such instance in the history of first-class cricket: during the Championship match between Middlesex and Somerset at Lord's in June 1933, Middlesex's first innings contained the superb scorecard entry "HW Lee c FS Lee b JW Lee 82". Harry Lee later wrote about this incident: "The catcher was my baby brother Frank. The bowler my brother Jack, who was killed in France seven days after D-Day during the Second World War, aged 40. I remember the ball clearly. Just previously, Jack had clean bowled Patsy Hendren with one that pitched on the seam and broke the wrong way. I pulled his leg about it, and told him I was going to hit him as he should be hit, to the boundary wide of mid-on. He smiled a wise smile, and said that he doubted it. I tried to keep my word, and Frank held the ball one-handed, at full stretch... I do not believe that brothers had ever before behaved so unbrotherly in a first-class game."

Has anyone ever scored two centuries on the same day of a first-class match? asked Rod Taylor from Wales
The only man ever to have done this in first-class cricket was KS Ranjitsinhji - the legendary "Ranji" - back in 1896. Playing for Sussex against Yorkshire at Hove, Ranji went in on the second day, but hadn't scored when rain brought an early close. Next morning (August 22) he took his score to exactly 100, but since Sussex managed only 191 in reply to Yorkshire's 407, they were asked to follow on. This time Ranji made 125 not out, to guide his side to a draw. He batted with "brilliancy and determination", according to Wisden, which added that "his marvellous exhibition caused the wildest excitement amongst the spectators".

Is it true that Don Bradman was never dismissed in the nineties in Tests, or in first-class cricket? And was he ever dismissed in the 190s or 290s? asked Keith D'Souza from Nigeria
It's true that Don Bradman was never dismissed in the nineties in Tests: on all 29 occasions that he reached 90, he went on to three figures. His nearest miss was being out for 89 against England at Lord's in 1948. In all first-class cricket, though, the Don was dismissed six times in the nineties: again, the closest he came was at Lord's in 1948, when he was caught at slip off the Army fast bowler John Deighton for 98 during the Invincibles' match against MCC. There were no 190s or 290s in Tests either (although he was once left stranded on 299 not out against South Africa when the last man was run out!), but in first-class cricket he was out for 191 against Hampshire in 1930 and 192 for South Australia against Victoria in 1936-37.

Who wrote, about Lord's, that "I shuddered to think of it as the headquarters of cricket"? asked Ahmed Qureishi from Pakistan
This was Sunil Gavaskar, in his 1976 autobiography Sunny Days. He was writing about his first impressions of the ground, during India's 1971 tour of England: "Lord's, at first sight, is unimpressive. Quite frankly, I don't know why cricketers are overawed by Lord's. The members are the stuffiest knowalls you can come across, and the ground is most uninspiring. It slopes from one end to the other. I shuddered to think of it as the headquarters of cricket!" Just possibly, Gavaskar's opinions were coloured by the fact that he didn't have much success with the bat there - he played five Tests at Lord's, with a highest score of 59 in 1979 (in this he has at least outdone Sachin Tendulkar, whose highest score in five Tests there remains 37). However, I seem to remember that Gavaskar had changed his mind a little by the time he scored 188 in MCC's Bicentenary match at Lord's in 1987!

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012. Ask Steven is now on Facebook

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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